Dr. Pat

About Dr. Patrick Keelan

Feeling Challendged? Work with a psychologist who knows how to overcome challenges… Depression, anxiety, stress & other psychological issues may seem as daunting as completing a marathon. My approach to “Plan, Take Action & Track Progress”, has helped 100s of clients and is the same approach I used to succeed in the Boston Marathon & Ironman Canada.

Viewing addictions as diseases: The pros and cons

In this article, I discuss the commonly held view of addictions as diseases along with the pros and cons of this view including its effects on progress in treatment. A commonly held view of addictions is that they are diseases. The view holds that if you are unlucky enough to be afflicted with such a disease, it will be with you for your life because it cannot be cured. Furthermore, because your addiction is a disease, you are unable to exert control over it. Acknowledging this lack of control or powerlessness is the basis of 12-step programs which are used to help people with addictions for issues such as...[more]

Practicing skills: A formula for success inside and outside your psychologist’s office

In this article, I discuss how you can use the same route to success in addressing your psychological issues which you are already using in other endeavours in your life. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I offer prospective clients a free 30-minute consultation to allow them to determine whether the approach I use would be a good fit for them. In order to help people with this decision, I frequently remark that if you can be successful by learning and practicing skills in other endeavours in your life, you can be successful at using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to address your issues...[more]

Reducing self-injury behaviours: Identify and address the motives

In this article, I discuss ways to reduce non-suicidal self-injury behaviours by identifying and addressing the motives for these behaviours. In my practice as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, among the most challenging issues I encounter is clients engaged in self-injury behaviours such as cutting or burning oneself.  Referred to as non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), these behaviours are not engaged in for the purpose of taking one’s life. However, they are often precursors to later suicide attempts and are most commonly displayed by adolescents. To help these clients, my strategy is first to identify the reasons they are engaging in self-injury behaviours...[more]

Being a fan of a sports team: How to enjoy the psychological benefits while minimizing the psychological costs

In this article, I discuss how you can enjoy the psychological benefits of being a fan of a sports team while taking steps to prevent the psychological downsides. Some of my most memorable times have been those in which I have been a fan of sports teams. Team Canada’s narrow win over the Soviet Union in the 1972 hockey Summit Series brought excitement and passion to me and millions of other Canadians who watched the landmark event. In my younger days, I also regularly enjoyed going to the games of my hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team which I attended with my father and siblings.  On the other hand, my support of sports teams has at times had negative effects on my mood. For example, I have recently seen my hometown Winnipeg Jets miss making the NHL playoffs and my adopted hometown Calgary Flames get swept out of the playoffs in the first round. For the last two seasons, the Toronto Blue Jays’ baseball success had me and many Canadians on a high as we followed their exploits. In contrast, so far this season I cannot bear to watch the Blue Jays as they currently sport the worst record in the major leagues. These examples illustrate that being a fan can have highs and lows...[more]

How to perform well in sport—whether you are in or out of the zone

In this article, I discuss skills to enhance performance in sport by getting in the zone and how to perform well when you are not in the zone. Top performances in sport and other endeavours are associated with being ‘in the zone’. Being in the zone, also known as achieving the state of ‘flow’, is defined by being completely absorbed in the present moment as well as in the movements and actions needed to perform at your best. It is a state of relaxation and optimal concentration in which the athlete is not preoccupied with worries about the result or other matters and is able to focus in the midst of distractions in the setting in which they are performing. Because top performance is associated with being in the zone, athletes strive to learn and practice psychological skills to help them achieve this state...[more]

Habits for preventing and overcoming depression: It’s how you behave and what you think

In this article, I discuss habits to prevent and overcome depression which stem from cognitive behavioural therapy. In my continuing series on habits, I now turn to habits to help you prevent and overcome depression. These habits are rooted in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Using CBT as a framework, in the following sections I will discuss behavioural habits followed by cognitive habits...[more]

Habits for healing from traumatic events

In this article, I discuss habits to help people heal from traumatic events--either to prevent the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder or to recover from it. When a person suffers a traumatic events involving actual or feared death or serious injury, they experience a shock to their physical, cognitive and emotional system. Whether it be wartime experiences, assaults of various kinds, severe car accidents or other traumatic events, the multi-pronged negative impact can significantly disrupt a person’s life. Fortunately, there are habits a person can engage in following a traumatic event which can help them to heal from it...[more]

Habits for addressing social anxiety issues: Part 2 – Coping skills to use during exposure to social situations

In this second of two articles, I discuss coping skills you can use while getting the exposure to social situations which is key to addressing your social anxiety issues. In my first article on habits for addressing social anxiety issues, I indicated that the key to success is getting as much exposure as possible to social interaction situations. This exposure yields two positive results which are integral to addressing social anxiety issues—desensitization and inhibitory learning. Desensitization (also called habituation) refers to lasting reductions in anxiety levels which come from getting enough exposure to situations in which you experience anxiety. Inhibitory learning entails realizing through sufficient exposure to anxiety-provoking situations that you can cope effectively in these situations despite your discomfort. In this article, I will discuss coping skills you can use during your exposure to social interaction situations which will help you keep your anxiety at a manageable level in these situations...[more]

2017-02-28T21:25:40+00:00 By |Anxiety|0 Comments

Habits for addressing social anxiety issues: Part 1 – The key to addressing social anxiety issues

In this first of two articles, I discuss habits to help you or someone you know address issues with social anxiety. In my continuing series on habits, I now turn to habits to help people address issues with social anxiety. These issues focus on the experience of significant discomfort in social situations which is often accompanied by avoidance of social interaction as a result of this discomfort. There are two categories of social anxiety issues—general and specific...[more]

2017-02-12T19:52:54+00:00 By |Anxiety|0 Comments

Habits for addressing substance use and other addictions

In this article, I discuss habits to help you or someone you know address issues with substance use and other addictions. In my continuing series on habits, I now turn to habits to help people address addictions including substance use (alcohol and drugs) along with gambling, shopping and sex, among others. If you are struggling with an addiction, you may feel at times that you have no control over your urges. In fact, there are many habits you can cultivate which will help you gain confidence in your ability to manage your urges to engage in addictive behaviours. In the following sections, I will discuss these habits which are rooted in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)...[more]